Town Negotiating with Stonybrook Road Homeowners
Health Board to meet with Supervisors next week to discuss details of buyouts and compensation for contaminated properties.
The Health Department is negotiating with several homeowners on Stonybrook Road that have had their property contaminated by the nearby town's landfill. Under discussion is the purchase of some homes and compensation for others, Health Director Wayne Attridge told the Board of Health Wednesday night.
The board is scheduled to meet with the Board of Supervisors Tuesday in closed session to discuss the details of the negotiations with the five or six homeowners. The homeowners and their attorneys have been negotiating with town counsel Lisa Mead and Attridge.
Attridge said about 50 percent of the homeowners are in agreement with the town regarding proposed payment for their contaminated property. He predicted the negotiations could get 75 percent of the homeowners to agree. But he said it was unlikely that the negotiations would reach agreement with 100 percent of the homeowners. At least one homeowner would not agree to the town's proposed payment without going to court, he said.
Last year, the town agreed to purchase the 18,430-square-foot lot on Stonybrook Road, owned by Jeff and Kate Dinsmore, for $899,955. That proposed purchase was rejected along with nine other proposals in the override election last June.
The payments to other property owners near the landfill will also likely have to be presented at Town Meeting next May and approved in a special override election. Town officials would like to bundle all of the Stonybrook Road properties into one article for the Town Meeting to approve, Attridge said.
Last year, the Dinsmores wrote in a public letter, "The contaminants found on our property include lead (at eight times acceptable levels), nickel (seven times acceptable levels), cadmium (six times acceptable levels) and arsenic at depths of 7-15 feet deep around and under our house. While this is not considered an imminent health risk to us or others because of its depth, the material must be cleaned up to avoid long-term health risks."
The cost of cleaning up the Dinsmore property was estimated at $2.5 million, which would include demolishing their house, excavating the contaminated soil and rebuilding the house.
The extent of the contamination to the other properties on Stonybrook Road varies from one to another, Attridge has said.
In other business, board member Dr. Todd Belf-Becker reported that the Building Oversight Committee and its engineering consultant SEA have cut about 40 percent out of the cost of building a new transfer station at the landfill. The building was originally proposed at a cost of $4 million. That proposal was also rejected by the voters in the June special override election.
Attridge commended the committee for its work in cutting the costs of the proposed new transfer station and landfill capping project. "They are doing a good job. They are taking a common sense approach," he said.
He described the downsizing of the transfer station as going "from a Volvo to a four-wheel-drive pick up truck."
The proposed new transfer station is smaller, has only one disposal bay instead of two and has been re-sited on the property to allow for the elimination of a proposed retaining wall.
The board agreed to hire Geosyntec, another engineering firm, for $24,500 to review the plans and offer recommendations for additional cost cutting.
The committee is expected to issue its report to the board of health in January to allow time for the town to finalize the lower cost version of the transfer station and landfill capping project at the May Town Meeting.